We were stunned to learn how many different processes and materials it takes to produce a seemingly simple basketball.
We were recently trained to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment using GaBi software in Dr. Robert Sroufe’s course. This software models all the elements of a product or system from cradle to cradle. It gives businesses the information they need to make the most informed decisions on the manufacturing and life cycle of a product. GaBi is the premier LCA software and is used by hundreds of companies all over the world including Bayer, Bombardier Transportation, DuPont and Toyota.
We worked directly with a facilitator from PE International via web-conferencing. Students were able to model all the products and services that went into producing the final product. The software also allowed us to view the environmental impact of the product has on the environment. We are one of the only MBA programs that gives students an opportunity to work with such cutting edge software for Life Cycle Assessments.
Teams will be completing a Life Cycle Assessment using the GaBi software for two products for Dr. Sroufe’s course. Each team gets to chose a product and conduct the LCA. My team chose to look at aluminum and glass beer bottles. Other teams will be comparing include glass and aluminum beer bottles, plastic and wire hangers, and saran wrap and aluminum foil.
We will share our results when the analyses are complete.
By Stephen Sumpter
While in Germany we were provided to the opportunity to meet with leaders from PE International. This software company has developed two key software packages focused on improving sustainability measures. The first is the GaBi software that is used to conduct Life Cycle Assessments, which we were provided the opportunity to experience and work with first hand in Dr. Sroufe’sclass last semester. The second is SoFi, which assists companies in streamlining and improving reporting efforts for internal reports and larger programs such as the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Many students commented that it was nice to see the extent of the offerings from PE International and that what they had done for LCA was being applied to emissions reporting. Many students also expressed the interest in hands on experience using the SoFi reporting tool. Others were excited by the developments PE is working on with GaBi to make the inclusion of Environmental Product Declarations an easier and more accessible process.
Last week, Christoph Koffler, technical director for PE International, Inc., came into our Sustainable Theories and Models class to train our cohort on how to use the GaBi software. GaBi is the #1 life cycle assessment tool, and we will be using this software as we begin our analysis of different products.
GaBi software can model every element of a product or system from a life-cycle perspective, equipping businesses to make the best informed decisions on the manufacture and lifecycle of any product, everything from a mobile phone to a match-stick to an airport. The software is used by over 1500 companies, including Dupont, Bayer, Siemens, Timberland, Ford, Bombardier and Daimler. Understanding LCA for products gives organizations a competitive advantage.
Christoph explained that he was willing to do any life cycle analysis comparison during his training. One classmate, Dallas, suggested that we compare hand dryers and paper towels. This comparison proved to be a complex analysis, and it showed that hand dryers produce more global warming than paper towels, which surprised the vast majority of us!
Throughout the upcoming weeks, each group within the cohort will do its own life cycle analysis and present their findings on two comparable products. The GaBi training was challenging; however, we have a much better grasp of the LCA process.
To learn more about GaBi visit the following website: http://www.gabi-software.com/america/index/